Free This, Free That, Free Everything

by Katy on June 12, 2012 · 21 comments

Although it may seem like all my days are frugal days, I’m actually just as prone as anyone else to occasionally buy my work lunch or to succumb to groceries that would never have made the list. However, yesterday was frugal from start to finish, in a way that’s actually kind of funny.

Here’s how my day went:

  • Breakfast was instant oatmeal from The Grocery Outlet. Cheap breakfast.
  • I puttered around the house for awhile while listening to a library audiobook. Free entertainment.
  • My mother drove over to my house, and brought me a tub of raw chocolate chip cookie dough. Free cookie dough.
  • We decided we wanted to go to the main Goodwill, (I know, shocker!) and to eat lunch at one of the many nearby restaurants. My mother was treating, but my meal ended up being free because my catfish was served very undercooked, and then tough as nails after they cooked it some more. Yuck. Free lunch.
  • We then browsed Goodwill for awhile. All I bought was a lovely $3 vintage frame. I paid for it using a store credit, as I had returned something a few weeks ago. My mother had actually been the one to buy the original item, so the frame ended up being free. Free frame.
  • Dinner was burritos, with tortillas made from scratch. I already had leftover refried beans as well as ground beef, salsa, sour cream and lettuce. So all I needed was a tomato. I walked to New Seasons, where I ran into my next door neighbor. I was self disciplined, choosing only a single small tomato. However, this meant my bill only added up to 30¢. I felt bad using my debit card for such a paltry sum, so my neighbor paid for my tomato. Free tomato.
  • I’ve been meaning to deal with a low hanging branch or two that have been bothering the pedestrians in front of my house, so I borrowed my other next door neighbor’s loppers to address the issue. (They current have our post hole digger, so it’s all equal.) Free use of loppers.
  • I finally found a Craigslist buyer for my $12.99 oriental rug. I sold it for $100. Free $87.01.
  • My younger son had soccer practice from 6:30 – 8:00 in the evening. Instead of driving there-and-back twice, instead I hung out at my father’s house, which is pretty close to the soccer field. I was served a glass of ice tea, and was given a large bag of organic salad greens and garlic chives from my farmer sister. I saved gas and got to spend some quality time with my family. Free beverage and vegetables.
  • This week is finals week for my 10th grader, and I told him that if he did his studies in a timely manner, I would fix him a treat. So I baked up a batch of nice warm chocolate chip cookies. Free treat.

Nothing that I did yesterday was designed to get something for nothing. But my non-consumer lifestyle puts me in these situations on a daily basis. There will be days When I’m the lender instead of the lender, so I’m not worried that I’m becoming a inexcusable mooch.

I’m simply a non-consumer.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Mama Minou June 12, 2012 at 10:01 am

What a great nonconsumer day!
I think you mean lender instead of lendee…


Katy June 12, 2012 at 10:07 am

Thanks, it’s that stupid auto correct!



Lilypad June 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Free tub of cookie dough?? Your mom is the best! Is she up for adopting a 45 year old? just wondering…


Katy June 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I’ll have to ask!



Poor to Rich a Day at a Time June 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

What a great day! Thanks for sharing!


Bauunny June 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Some days all the moons are in alignment! (smile)


Katy June 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Every single one of them! 😉



Robin June 12, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Love it! Tally things up at the end of the day and WOW!


Marcy June 12, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Isn’t it great to get to the end of the day and realise how much you did for free or something similar. We just had a long weekend and I realised I barely spent a thing.

On Saturday I did some training for sport for 3 hours. It was a really hard training session with about 15 of us. We just turned up at our usual fields and a few of us guided the session and then had a practice game together. FREE

I was pretty hungry after training, but need to go to the market and buy fresh fruit/veg/meat/bread. I figured I’d just find something to eat there. But after doing all my shopping, none of the prepared food on offer took my fancy or seemed healthy enough, so I went home and made toasted sandwhiches with the bread, proscuitto and spinach I’d just purchased. FREEish (well, I did just buy those things)

Then I spent the night out at a beautiful property with a bunch of friends. We feasted on snacks in the afternoon and a delicious dinner. Everybody just randomly bought things along, nothing special planned, but we had a beautiful meal. I took a left over bottle of red which my housemate opened the night before and some pastries from the market. Another friend brought a lamb roast she and her family had planned to cook. We played board games in front of the fire. FREE.

After breakfast of homemade pancakes, I visited my sister and played with my niece and nephew and was fed homemade pumpkin soup for lunch. FREE

Sunday night and Monday morning I spent at home relaxing and Monday afternoon I had another hard training session with friends, again FREE since we ran the sprints and strength session ourselves.


Katy June 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Holy crap, I want your life. It’s like a movie!



A Frugal Spinster June 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Way to go on the rug sale! This gives me hope that I may yet find a buyer for my mother’s sewing chest. I have posted it on Craig’s list several times already starting at $100 going down to $30 no one has shown any interest.


Katy June 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

I posted that rug probably six times before it sold. I never lowered the price, as I would have been perfectly happy to keep it.



Megyn @MinimalistMommi June 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm

That all sounds great!…
…however, do you ever freely give in return, even when it’s not frugal?
This is something I’ve had to push myself to do because, like you, I have VERY generous family. And also like you, I like to save money. Yet I’ve come to realize that my frugality comes of entitled and spoiled to others who see what I receive, but didn’t feel like I wasn’t reciprocating fairly. (Granted giving should come without strings…but still, take, take, take without giving, and people notice). I now try to let go of my frugal ways when it comes to others who often give so freely to me. I’d love to see a post where you show that converse side…how you do things that allow others to have some cool FREE time too.


Randa June 13, 2012 at 10:30 am

I like Megyn’s post as I’ve thought about this too in my life… I could easily be a taker, but have discovered such joy in balancing it out with giving. To all things there is a time. 🙂

Just a note about the very end of your post: I think now it has auto-corrected the other way, and says “the lender instead of the lender” (and I know you meant one of them to be lendee).


Angela June 13, 2012 at 5:46 am

Sounds like a productive day! Yum on the cookie dough! But I have to say, I’d hate to be that Craigslist buyer…I’d want my $87.00 back. 😉


Katy June 13, 2012 at 5:52 am

Why? It was a beautiful hand knotted Muslim prayer rug, which would cost a fortune to buy new. Better $100 from Craiglist than some nasty $100 acrylic rug from Ikea. It will last forever.



Angela June 13, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I wondered when you said you got it for $12…..


Lili@creativesavv June 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

I love having “free” days. Every once in a while, we’ll have a “totally free week”, where we try not to spend a single cent all week (except for gas to get to and from school and work, and the bills that come in — that wouldn’t be very frugal to not pay on time!) I think if it as a financial cleanse.


Robin June 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I like that term ‘financial cleanse’. Much better than a juice cleanse!


Becky June 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Sort of related to Megyn’s comment. Who suggests you & your mother go to Goodwill? Who decides who drives? Do you have to say, “I’d love to go, but only if you’re driving and paying for lunch.”? Do your mom or dad (who you have mentioned eating out with before) just know that if they want a restaurant meal with you, then they are paying for you? I’m just curious how it plays out. I hope I’m not coming across as judgmental; I’m just wondering how this works.


Katy June 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm

When I go out with my parents, (who are long divorced) I usually drive, although Portland is not so sprawled out that it’s an issue. And my neighborhood is very urban, so we’ll often walk when eating out. I would never say “I’ll go out with you, but only if you pay.”

Sometimes when my mother comes thrifting with us she’ll pay, but not usually. Keep in mind, most purchases are only a couple of bucks. When I was growing up, my parents could not afford to buy anything extra for me, so my mother really enjoys being able to treat me now and then. It all comes out in the wash though, as I host almost all family events at my house.

And though my parents pick up the tab for lunches out, I try to always cover the tip.

No, it’s not equal, but it’s not a big deal.



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